I just survived grad school…and a torn quad…and an ulu attack

Well, I am back! I just crawled out of my cave known as grad school. I have this on-going list of all of the things I have wanted to blog about, but never got the time to do. I am convinced that grad school prepares you for having children.

  1. You get no sleep, or you get it in short spurts (you learn the value of napping as an adult)
  2. There is a lot of screaming (sometimes its you, sometimes its your partner, sometimes its your professor)
  3. There is a lot of crying (this is mostly you…)
  4. Social time is a thing of the past and its really really exciting when you get it go out
  5. You can never focus on just one thing, since your mind is in 15 different places (note here that I worked, interned, volunteer, went to school and managed to find sooooome time for working out)
  6. The gym no longer takes priority in your life
  7. Your standards of how clean your house should be no longer exist
  8. Putting your keys in the fridge or accidentally leaving the house in your slippers becomes normal
  9. Cry at a drop of a dime, over something that doesn’t seem like its worth crying over, just because its the point at which its time for you to have a little breakdown and cry.
  10. When you come out the other side, it will all seem like a blur. A very worth it blur.
  11. It costs you tens of thousands of dollars that you are hoping will pay off in the long run.

Along this journey, I managed to do quite a bit, which I only wish I had time to share with all of you. That is one of my new goals. To share this amazing journey I’ve had this past year. 2015 has been the year I feel like I’ve found my true Alaskan self. But its been a struggle, as well. Earlier this year (February), I was training for the crossfit games, and tore my quad. I am still in recovery for it, back to doing everything except running like I previously was. As I enjoy the end of our Alaskan summer, I am busy taking the last of my vacations (currently in Juneau), making jam and jelly and canning salmon for the summer. On Monday, the day before I left for my vacation, I managed to slice my finger with my ulu while cleaning it after cutting up salmon to can, and off to the ER I went, near the middle of the night, for my first 4 stitches ever!

Stay tuned, I’m back at the blogging game, and ready to share about my adventures in quad recovery, making fireweed jelly for the first time, dip netting in Chitna, and taking a slice out of life (or my finger for that matter) to make canned salmon for my family and friends!



K-Christina EPIC Alaska Road Trip 2014


Well, the summer here in Alaska is flying by. In fact, its been the rainiest summer (I am pretty sure ever) in Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula is surely enjoying all of what should be our weather. BUT, last month I got to enjoy 2 weeks with my wonderful best friend Kristina, who came from Ohio to explore Alaska with me. How wonderful it that – I didn’t have to leave the state to have such an incredible trip? I got to show off what I call my backyard. That is something you’ll learn about Alaskans. We call this great land – the Last Frontier – our backyard. I can’t wait to find time to share the adventures, and give some advice on where to go for all of you fellow travelers planning trips to Alaska in the future. But for now, here’s a video to give you a glimpse into our AMAZING trip. The quality is a bit low – since it is set up for mobile devices.





A Week of Adventures in Alaska

Today’s Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Temperature: A WARM 28F mmm mmm
Sunrise/Sunset: 10:46am/2:45pm – 12 days until we gain light again!
Listening to: Christmas Radio on iTunes
Success of the Day: cross-country skiing in this warm weather!

My apologies, I have some blog catching up to do! The weather in Alaska has been unpredictable, to say the least. It is very warm right now, which I am not complaining about!

Thanksgiving: Much to be thankful for this year! A year of so many fitness goals met, being happy and healthy, getting to travel all over Alaska and to 9 different states, and for a wonderful & supportive partner who I’ve known over 2 years now! I’m surrounded by incredible people, to top it all off! I spent thanksgiving in Anchorage, where it was much colder than anticipated, and not enough good snow to bring the skiis down for some cross-country skiing. But I did get some new running shoes at Skinny Raven that aren’t out at any other stores in AK yet. Very nice, indeed!

JNU Sunrise

Juneau at Sunrise

I was lucky enough to break in my running shoes trail running the mountains of Juneau, Ak! Whoa! Talk about incredible, breathtaking beauty!! It was my first time there, and there is alot I didnt get to see so I am definately planning a visit back! I was lucky enough to have sunshine and warmth the entire time I was there. Seeing new places in Alaska renews my love of this great state. What a place to be, what a place to live, what a place to call my home!


Trail running in Juneau

After Thanksgiving and Juneau, its been a little tough to get back into my routine, but I’m trying! Starting out with some local hockey isn’t a bad way to start, eh? Go Ice Dogs!

hockeyNothing like a good hockey fight that the refs have trouble breaking up!

It helped that as I went to pick up a friend who lives on the ridge for the game, the Aurora (aka Northern Lights) were out in all their glory. Oh my oh my! What a view it was from up on the ridge! Allow me to share the view:

This week, I have remembered why I love Alaska so much. I got to visit Juneau for a statewide Prevention Summit and see many people from around the state that I only get to see at these events, and met so many new and incredible people to network with. To see what our state is doing about violence prevention, to see the amazing people and their passion, and to see new and beautiful parts of Alaska – THIS Alaska Girl on the Run is one lucky girl.

Fitness on the Go – Arctic Style

Today’s Location: Barrow, Alaska
Temperature: 10F, 23mph W = -9 with windchill
Sunrise/Sunset: 10:54am/3:26pm (4:31 of daylight today!)
Listening to: Workout Radio on Pandora – post-workout in itinerate housing 
Success of the Day: Finding a cool geocache with my co-workers

photoAs my recent post revealed, I get to venture up to Barrow every few months for work. My stays here used to be short, 2-3 days, but now they are 5-7. When you have a 6 day a week fitness routine, it becomes hard to figure out how to manage that when you are traveling, especially during the Alaskan winter months. I seem to have discovered that more than ever on this trip up North, and I am vowing to make a “Fitness Plan B” for myself.

First I’ll share a little about my adventures trying to stay fit in Barrow. I really hate treadmills, and recently had turned away from the traditional gyms (not that there really is one up here).  But there is a recreational center that, tucked away in the corner of the basketball court, has a small weight area, two treadmills, an elliptical, and stairclimber. So, basically when you get there, you should hope that no one is on the equipment you want to use. There is also a rock climbing wall that you can use, if one of the employees who is belay certified is there to assist you. It’s worth mentioning that the high school has a pool and gym that is open to the public, but you have to check the times for public use.

I’ve used the rec. center a few times here, but you have to take a taxi over, pay to use the facility and take a taxi back. It all seems pretty time consuming to me, since I really love being able to throw my shoes on and go run as soon as a step outside the door. After a beautiful summer in Fairbanks, it’s also something I’ve gotten used to. Personally, I love running outside wherever I go on my travels. Rain, snow, or shine. Well in the instance of Barrow, its wind. Ooooh the wind. It really can cut right through you. Now I have fond memories of running along the oceanside in Barrow in the early morning during the summer, with the sun shining bright and a rainbow ahead. That view is forever imbedded in my mind. But this week, it has been hit or miss with how enjoyable my runs might be.

Now mind you, no matter what time of year I’ve gone running here, I’ve had some fear in me that I might get hit by someone driving. I always take extra precaution – pedestrians only sort of have the right of way here. I’ve only seen the high school kids out as a group running once – so I’ve always assumed that I might be viewed as a strange specimen to be out running, on my own, and voluntarily. Knowing I’d be running with no sunlight this trip, I came with reflective gear and a headlamp. Tuesday morning I headed out early, and the wind was cutting through me, but I kept on. Most of Barrow is well lit with street lights, so when I realized I forgot my headlamp, I wasn’t too concerned. I was concerned with the route I took, passing between two lagoons that I realized half way through had quite the snow drift across them and there was a decreasing space for cars to pass. Unfortunately, this was an out-and-back, so I’d had to turn around and come back this way at some point. I made it back safely by stopping to allow people to pass, which only made me colder in the wind. I vowed not to run this way again on the trip!

Wednesday, yesterday, I headed out a different route, towards the hospital and looping in and out of streets. If it were windy, I might have some protection via the homes. I remembered my headlamp (yay!) and it seemed to deter people from driving so close to me. Headlamps are my new best friend! My other new best friend? Ice Cleats.photo-1Seriously, I feel like Superman running with these on my shoes! People were headed to work, buses were picking up children, and the stars were out in the sky, which by the end of my run was a deep, cloudy blue. It turned out to be 10 degrees with no wind, it was a great run!

This morning however, it was bone-chilling cold and windy again. Hovering 0 and 30mph winds make for a nasty negative temp with wind chill. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it. This is where the difficulty comes in. When you want to be out running, but fear being blown into a lagoon or buried in a snow drift, what do you do? This afternoon I realized my not-in-my-fitness-routine crabbiness was creeping in. I miss my longer runs and running group, I miss my circuit training, heck I miss my own bed and Americanos at this point!

I am hoping tomorrow will not be windy and by some magic, I’ll wake up early to go run and be greeted by the northern lights that I just barely missed last night (thus is my life, missing the northern lights ALL the time). But, you have to find ways to stay fit, anywhere, anytime with one simple routine. This is my new goal – to find this routine. Tonight I searched around, knowing I needed something to get my HR up a little, and did this:

50 reps of each (you could also do 5×10 if you like multiple vs one set of each)

  • Jumping Jacks (if you do 5×10, do 50 of these first and skip during the rest of 5×10)
  • Body-weight Air Squats
  • Push Ups (modified if needed)
  • Sit Ups
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Walking Lunges
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Reclined Hip Extension (double or single leg)
  • Burpees
  • Prone Back Extensions aka “Superman”

The reality is, this is barely what my warm-up is for my regular workouts at Elite Urban Fitness. BUT it is something! Because you have to keep moving! Always always do something over nothing. Today, I had to remind myself of that. So, to the few readers I have out there, send you ideas my way, or at the least I hope I’ve encouraged you to keep moving, no matter where you are!